Trippensee Planetarium, ca. 1900

Value (2009) | $500 Retail$600 Retail

I live on a dairy farm. My husband's family has lived there since 1868. Consequently, there is a one-room schoolhouse next to my home. And several generations of my husband's family attended school there. And this was one of the pieces that they used in the education of the students.

This is a very common teaching tool during the late 19th and early 20th century. These were used in schoolhouses all over the United States to teach the solar system to young people. It has the Sun, it has a small planet circling the Sun, it has the Earth, and it has the Moon circling the Earth. All of these are linked together by gears and chain belts that allow them all to operate together in a consistent fashion to illustrate the motion of the planets and the motion of the Moon. This shows the tilt of the Earth and the motion of the Moon around the Earth. This is made in Detroit, Michigan, by the Trippensee Planetarium Company. This is the earliest and best example of one of their planetariums that I have seen in a long time. It has the spun-brass Sun instead of the plastic one that was put on later. It has all the gearing and drive mechanism, and it even has the brass base with the planetary tables on it. This particular example, because it's so old and in such good condition, is probably worth on the collector market $500 to $600. If you sold it in an auction or you had to replace it for insurance purposes, it would probably be more than that. Thank you for bringing it today.

Thank you, Phil. This has been great.

Appraisal Details

The Analytical Engine
Worcester, MA
Appraised value (2009)
$500 Retail$600 Retail
Madison, WI (July 11, 2009)

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